Our world is saturated in social media. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and blogs are just a few of the resources we have to communicate on a personal level with hundreds of people. We like to share our lives, our pictures, our memories, and our funny moments. We love knowing someone is noticing us and enjoying our communication.
Accompanying those media pages is this little thing called a “like” button. We love like buttons! If we appreciate someone’s picture or post, the “like” button is handy for us to tell the writer how much we enjoyed it. The most valuable of asset of the “like” button, however, is when someone uses it to tell us how much they like what we posted. One like and we’re a little pleased. Two likes and we feel we’re getting somewhere. Three or more likes and we’re on our way to being famous. Beyond ten likes and we feel we should be nominated for “World’s Best Post Poster.” Our heads start to swell with pride if we have to click on “see more comments” or “see more likes” because the number has disappeared from view. Our self-worth has just gone to another level!
Sadly, the number of “likes” we receive in life, whether directly from people or through social media, can quickly dictate to us what we believe about ourselves. The absence of “likes” can send us into a tail-spin of questions: “Don’t they like me anymore?” “Was what I said weird?” “What’s wrong with me?” Even greater insecurities come when we’re not accepted by certain circles, are rejected for a job interview, or are dumped by our latest boyfriend. We feel “disliked,” devalued, and rejected.
When we stay focus on the “likes,” we evolve into man-pleasers. We dress, talk, or act a certain way in order to receive approval. We’re so engrossed in satisfying our longing for acceptance that the real us shrivels into nothing. Out of that shriveled mess emerges someone so unlike the original that we can hardly be recognized. The image is fake, a counterfeit of what it was always supposed to be.
The truth is that we will never be satisfied with the “like” we receive from this world and social media. People are fickle and constantly changing their ideals of what is acceptable. Of all the sources on which we should base our value, finite people and worldly concepts should be the last on the list.
God, on the other hand, is infinite and has never had a fickle moment. Though we stand knee-deep in the mire of unattainable “likes,” God has not rejected us. His message has always been clear: “You are accepted.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 6:3-6)
This should be more than enough to get us out of our insecure world of “likes”! The list of acceptance He places before us shines far brighter than any human opinion. Consider:
- We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (how could a physical blessing possibly compare to God’s spiritual one?).
- We have been chosen before the world began (as opposed to being chosen temporarily by someone else’s meager opinion).
- We have been made holy and without blame in love (while the world tries to conform us to something based on selfishness).
- We have been approved for adoption into God’s family by the Son of God (regardless of maternal family we were born into).
- We have been accepted in the Beloved, that lineage of Christians who will reign forever with Him (no higher ranking of acceptance exists).
Notice that the word “love” is included in these verses twice, and implied in every sentence. Here is the biggest difference between God’s form of “like” and the world’s form of “like.” God’s “like” is not a “like” at all, but pure love. If we consider who we were before we received Jesus as Lord and Savior, there was nothing to “like” about us! We were ugly and dirty with sin. Our hearts weren’t likable, and as a result, our actions weren’t either. We provided nothing on which God could click “like”!
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Unlike our human counterparts on this earth, God didn’t stamp us with “unlike” and walk away in disgust. He chose to do something about the unlikable, and moved with an action of love.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
The marvelous thing about obtaining God’s acceptance is that it takes no work on our part to get it. We don’t have to write something witty, take a glamour shot picture, or earn a PHD. All we have to do is believe in His free offer of love and grace, and allow Him to do the rest!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
We are God’s “workmanship.” Why would we want to be anything else? God’s work is always perfect, shaped and polished to represent Him. When we make the decision to be something different for the sake of man’s approval, we are telling Him that His creation isn’t good enough. We are admitting that our value is not found in who we are in Him, but in the “likes” we receive from those who had nothing to do with our existence.
We were designed to bring Him glory in everything we do (Ephesians 6:6; Ephesians 2:10). We stop bringing Him glory when our focus moves to pursuing man’s “likes” while we strive to be something else. God ceases to be honored and magnified through us. Instead, that counterfeit image we’ve created glorifies us, other people, or even the devil, if we fall far enough from God’s original image.
We have a choice each day to decide who determines our value. Who is the first person that comes to mind when we make a decision? Whose opinion do we immediately seek when criticized? Whose word excites us the most? What image do we consistently look to as our example?
God’s desire is that we remember the sacrifice He made in order to make us “accepted in the Beloved.” It was costly . . . but not to us. God the Father laid down His very best gift so that we could be valued as Jesus is valued. That we should look anywhere else is devaluing that costly sacrifice. Even in knowing some would reject His offering, God went beyond the human gesture of clicking “like.” He instead blanketed us with His love. No other “like” could compare.